Australian Snowboarders Wrap Up World Cup Year in Style

March 28th, 2024
Valentino Guseli in action last weekend in Silvaplana, Switzerland where he finished third in the final slopestyle  event of the season. That result saw Val win the Crystal Globe as overall park and pipe World Cup Champ for 2023/2024. Photo: OWIA

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Australian snowboarder Valentino Guseli’s bronze medal performance last weekend in Silvaplana, Switzerland was perfect timing, a result that allowed him to come-from-behind and snatch the overall snowboarding Park and Pipe Crystal Globe for the 2023/24 World Cup tour.  

It was Valentino’s first podium result in slopestyle this season and shows that he has what it takes to perform under pressure.

The overall park and pipe Crystal Globe includes results from halfpipe, big air and slopestyle and heading into the final day of competition for the season, Guseli needed to finish well ahead of Japanese rider Ryoma Kimata who had a significant lead in the standings, to defend the historic title he won last year as a 17-year-old.

In qualifying, Kimata had his worst performance of the season finishing in 50th, with Guseli advancing to the final in first place, which meant he would need to finish in fourth place or better to snatch the Crystal Globe.

In the best of two-run final, Guseli had two consistent runs, opening with a score of 77.31, and then improved in the second run, receiving a score of 83.77 points from the judges to give him the bronze medal and enough points to secure back-to-back overall Crystal Globes.

Ahead of Guseli on the podium was Canadian Liam Brearley on 88.10 points and Taiga Hasegawa of Japan with a best score of 88.52 points.

Guseli now has nine career World Cup medals competing in the three park and pipe disciplines of halfpipe, slopestyle, and big air, and three Crystal Globes.

Val, finishing on top for the second year in a row as overall Park and Pipe World Cup Champ.  Photo: FIS snowboard

“I am super stoked with the way today went, in my second run I landed one of the best runs of my life,” said the 18-year-old from Dalmeny on the NSW South Coast.

“Got on the podium and got the globe, which was my main goal, and from my side I don’t think today could have gone much better, I am super proud of my performance.”

“To win the overall, which means to be the most consistent out of all three freestyle disciplines, I am honoured to have won it for the second year in a row.”

“This season has been an interesting one, there has been lots of ups and downs, but I definitely feel like I have learned a lot this year, and I am super happy with where my snowboarding is right now.”

Silvaplana and nearby St Moritz will host the 2024 Snowboard and Freestyle World Championships, with the 2026 Milano-Cortina Olympic Winter Games now less than two years away.

Back-to-Back Silver for Bolton and Bronze for Baff in Final Snowboard Cross Event

Australian snowboard cross riders Cam Bolton and Josie Baff have finished the season strongly at a double World Cup event Mont Saint Anne, Canada, with Bolton claiming silver medals on both days and bronze for Baff on day two.

Bolton finished the season in a career best ranking of third on the World Cup standings, and in the women’s standings Baff just missed her career best ranking finishing in fourth place with teammate Belle Brockhoff sixth.

Cam Bolton finished the season with back-to-back silver medals. Photo:OWIA/FIS snowboard

In finals, Bolton won each round to advance to the big-final, where he would face off against world number one Eliot Grondin of Canada who had already secured the World Cup Crystal Globe. In the big-final Grondin led from start to finish to take the gold, with Bolton making two impressive passing moves down the course to claim the silver in a photo finish where he edged out German Leon Ulbricht in third.

For Bolton, the silver medal was his fourth podium of the winter and ended his season in career best form.

“First time for sure in the top-3 (on the standings), and these things are pretty hard to win, so very happy to come away with it” said the 33-year-old Bolton from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.

“Always tricky to back up the second race in a double event, but the sun has come out and the course is maintained so well and an absolute pleasure to race today and was able to come up and put in a pretty good performance and happy with my result and of course the overall.”

Cam Bolton, finishing just behind the winner and overall World Cup champ Eliot Grondin. Photo: OWIA/FIS Sbowboard

In the women’s event, Baff and Brockhoff both made it through to the semi-final stage, with Baff winning her semi-final to advance to the big-final, with Brockhoff crossing the line in third place placing in the small-final to decide places five to eight, where she finished in seventh.

The women’s big-final featured the top four in the world, and it did not disappoint with tight racing to the finish line, with Charlotte Bankes of Great Brittain taking the victory ahead of Italian Michela Moioli in second and Baff with the bronze after just finishing ahead of Chloe Trespeuch of France.

Baff now has nine World Cup career podiums, with five coming this season.

Josie Baff’s bronze medal took her to five podium finishes for the season. Photo: OWIA / FIS

“It was super-fun, I really wanted to do one better after yesterday (fourth place), and I managed to do that, I would have loved something more, but I am very satisfied with the third” said the 21-year-old from Jindabyne in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

“It was super tight racing with all of the girls, and I think we all showed our best riding and wanted to give it our best for the last two races of the season.”

Trespeuch of France finished first on the women’s World Cup standings on 792 points, followed by Bankes on 757, Moioli 704 and Baff 608.

Nineteen-year-old Mia Clift from Melbourne was awarded the FIS Snowboard Cross female rookie of the year, after a promising first World Cup season, which included a personal best finish of eighth on day one in Mont Saint Anne, and a final ranking of 19th on the standings.

Canadian Eliot Grondin ended well ahead in the men’s standings to finish on 952 points, with Alessandro Haemmerle second on 604, and Bolton third with 552.